Python Snake Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

Pythons are a diverse group of snakes that are stunning in appearance. Some pythons are the largest snakes in the world. What sets these snakes apart and also makes them desirable pets? Read on to find out.

Giant Snakes of the Jungle

When you imagine an animal with smooth, scaly skin, beady eyes and a flickering tongue, what do you think of? Most people would say a snake! Snakes are animals that seem to either fascinate people or terrify them. One type in particular can be as stunning in appearance as it is enormous: the python. Pythons are long snakes that are often beautifully patterned and can grow to be very large. One python has even set a record as the largest snake ever in captivity. Join us as we uncover facts about the group of snakes known as pythons.

Burmese pythons are some of the largest snakes in the world.
Burmese python

Where Do Pythons Live?

Pythons are native to Africa, Australia and Asia, but they can be found in many other places in the world as well. Roughly 40 species of python can be found in the jungles and marshes of tropic and subtropic areas. Pythons don't limit themselves to just slithering on land. Young pythons love to spend time climbing trees in these jungle areas. Excellent swimmers, pythons can also be found in the water and can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.

Python expertly coiled in a tree
Python in a tree

What are Characteristics of Pythons?

One defining characteristic of many pythons is the detailed pattern found on their scaly skin, making some pythons' skin look like a fancy rug. Pythons range greatly in size. Some are only 2 feet long, while others, like the gigantic Burmese python and reticulated python, can be 20 feet long and weigh 200 pounds! In fact, the largest snake ever kept in captivity is a reticulated python named Medusa. She measures 25 feet long and holds the Guinness World Record for longest snake.

What Do Pythons Eat?

Pythons are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. They do not chase after their prey. Instead, pythons hunt by hiding out and surprise attacking their prey. They don't have the best eyesight, but they do have a secret weapon: heat sensors. Special detectors along its jaw alert the snake to nearby animals.

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